As I only now belatedly report, I attended the revived Libertopia conference in San Diego, 3-6 May. As always it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed getting to hang out with Gary Chartier and Jeff Tucker. It was also fun visiting some of my favourite San Diego eateries, such as Berta’s and Cannonball.
The talk I gave on Hoppe and the Alt-Right will be posted as soon as I have time to finish tweaking it.
I’m sad to report that all is not completely well with our beloved Libertopia. The turnout was much lower than usual, and I suspect part of the blame lies with inadequate publicity. Several people one would expect to have been clued in told me they weren’t even aware the event was happening. (The hiccough with the conference originally being announced for a different date and venue surely didn’t help either.) Another cause perhaps lies in the much higher price for an exhibitor’s booth ($1000, up from $400 in previous years); this price hike meant that this is the first Libertopia at which Molinari/C4SS didn’t have a booth, and I’m sure the price kept many other exhibitors away as well. There was also a fair bit of disorganisation; apparently some speakers were comped and some weren’t and it’s not clear what the intended policy was supposed to be. Also, times and venues of speakers were switched without warning at the last minute, so that I missed several talks I’d intended to see. Something really needs to happen to rescue this conference, or we may not see another one for a while.
One of the many attractive features of San Diego is that if you for some reason get sick of being in a cosmopolitan city on the coast, an hour’s drive or so will take you to the mountains or the desert. After the conference I took a free day to head out to the old (but touristed-up) mining town of Julian (check out the town’s webcam), where I haven’t been since childhood. While Julian is a pleasant enough destination (with a nice bookstore), the real point of the trip is the scenery on the way. I recommend doubling the scenery by taking the southern loop there and the northern loop back. For best results, go on a sunny day.
Julian Scenic Drive Instructions:
Southern loop: San Diego to Julian:
1. From San Diego, take I-8 East (a.k.a. the Kumeyaay Highway) for about 40 miles.
2. Take Exit 40 (the sign reads “79 / Descansa / Japatal Valley Rd.”), and after exiting, turn left onto 79 N.
3. Take 79 N for about 20 miles, enjoying the views; you’re in the Cuyamaca Mountains now.
4. Brief recommended scenic detour: On the right you’ll see a sign announcing a “Vista Point.” Take a right onto this short road to Desert View Park, from which (as you might guess) you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Anza Borrego Desert far below.
5. Get back on the main road and take 79 N for another three miles or so. Welcome to Julian! Have some lunch. Check out that bookstore (closed Mondays, sorry).
Northern loop: Julian to San Diego :
1. You are probably on either Main Street or Washington Street; their intersection is the center of town. From that intersection, take Washington St. in a southwesterly or downhill direction; the signs should assure you that you’re on 78 W and 79 N.
2. Brief recommended scenic detour: After about a mile on 78 W / 79 N, you’ll see Pine Hills Road on your left. Take it.
After a couple of miles (passing and ignoring Deer Park Road), turn left on Frisius Road.
After a mile and a half, turn left onto (the other end of) Deer Park Road.
Another couple of miles will take you back to Pine Hills Road; turn right and you’ll soon be back at 78 W / 79 N (turn left onto it).
3. Continue on 78 W / 79 N. In about six miles, at Santa Ysabel, 78 W and 79 N will part company; stick with 78 W.
4. In another sixteen miles, in Ramona, you have a choice between continuing on 78 W or taking 67 S – both scenic! One will take you to I-15 S and the other to I-8 W, either of which will get you back to San Diego (about 50 miles from Ramona).